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student finance - loans/step parent/divorced parents

(18 Posts)
everybodysang Mon 13-Mar-17 13:12:32

DSS will be applying to university next year. There's a small chance that he's going to end up going to a university very near us - he currently lives with his mum in London and with us at weekends and most of the holidays – we live about 100 miles away. If he does go to the uni near us then he'll very likely live with us, which is great, lots of room for him and would hopefully be helpful financially for him.
As far as I can make out, he'd then apply for student finance with our address as his main address.
Am I right in thinking that I will be included in the household income for the purposes of working out if he's eligible for the full maintenance loan? Clearly I do contribute to the household costs but I have never contributed financially directly to him (that sounds awful! But DH and I have a DD together and I pay for DDs stuff and a bit more of the household costs and DH pays for DSS and DSDs stuff - it works for us at the moment).
Does that make any difference? Or is it just assumed that my contribution to the household is a contribution to him if he's living there, IYSWIM?
I hope this makes sense. I've been Googling without a whole lot of success and I didn't think our situation was all that unusual. Or am I completely wrong about the assessment altogether?

Sint Mon 13-Mar-17 13:36:57

I'd call and ask. The rules are ever changing and what someone did last year may not work this year. I think they are clamping down on people using one address instead of another for non legitimate reasons. I.e. Using the parent with the lower income. IYSWIM

Allthebestnamesareused Mon 13-Mar-17 13:48:45

Yes - the income of the step parent of the home in which the student is resident at the time if the application is made is included.

So for the first year application it will be his mum's income and if she has a spouse their income. Once he has moved in with you then any subsequent years' application will include DH and your income.

I assume at that point DH will not be paying child maintenance to his mum.

everybodysang Mon 13-Mar-17 13:56:54

Ah I see, I hadn't thought about the point of application meaning it would be his mum's for the first year - that might make it clearer, actually!

Does child maintenance make a difference? DH has a slightly unusual arrangement in that he doesn't pay regular child maintenance but give ExW a large lump sum instead (this was to do with the house they had bought with help from DHs parents - it's all legal and above board and very fair, drawn up between them and everyone very happy with the arrangement). On a regular basis they split trip costs and school dinners between them so I guess DSS will get that instead. Does the lack of regular child maintenance mean that anything will be different, do you think?

Also - who is that we actually call? And when is a good time to do that? I presume now is not a great time as everyone is getting offers at the moment, aren't they?

titchy Mon 13-Mar-17 14:17:37

It will be his mum's address that is used. Even if he lives with you in the term time it will still be his mum's. Unless he permanently moves in with you.

Won't he want to live with other students though?

everybodysang Mon 13-Mar-17 14:27:52

I think the idea would be that he would permanently move in with us - he's not at all happy at his mum's and is just waiting to finish school - though I think his university applications will come from when he's living at his mum's so that will probably cover the first year.

He probably will want to live with other students, and the odds are that he'll end up going to a university further away and not here at all, just trying to work out what will happen if he does end up here. The student accommodation here is plentiful but expensive and not terribly good so I think he might decide to live with us if he went here - but it's all very theoretical at the moment.

What I do think will happen is that he will move in with us when he's finished with school no matter where he goes to uni - so he'll be back here in holidays and 2nd/3rd year finance will be based on our income.

damnedgrubble Tue 14-Mar-17 04:33:04

Surely if he moves in with you when he leaves school then the first year finances will also be based on your income?

Berthatydfil Tue 14-Mar-17 04:57:32

It will be his mums initially as they apply in the months running up to September when term starts.

On anothe note please don't encourage him to live with you as he will really miss out on the whole university / student life experience.

everybodysang Tue 14-Mar-17 09:06:10

Oh we'd definitely encourage him to live with other students! But we won't be able to give him money to support him - very little anyway - so it will have to be up to him if he wants to try and save money by living with us.

Though I think it's a very slim chance he'll go to uni here anyway - the course he wants to do is decent here but it's far from the best place to study it so he'd have to have done far worse than predicted to end up here. He wants to go to Oxford... we'll see what happens!

EnormousTiger Tue 14-Mar-17 12:53:30

If we are talking about England not Scotland then:-
1. Check the financial consent order or court order on the divorce finances. Ours says I (the mother higher earner in our case) pay the university costs for all 5 children (lucky me......) and their father does not pay a penny. It may refer to "tertiary" education. It may instead just talk about child support to age 18.

2. I believe an adult child can apply to the English courts themselves (not the parent) for support from the non resident parent who by then will be the mother here for financial support.

3. On your question of what is taken account of does it really matter. Either the parent pays everything and no loan (my lucky children) or else or you borrow loads of money over 3 years. I thought the tiny tiny gift element for impoverished families had just been changed into a loan for all so everything has to be borrowed now which is about £9k a year fees, £7k a year rent and probably £7k a year maintenance/food/travel/books etc.

Allthebestnamesareused Tue 14-Mar-17 18:34:14

Enormous Tiger - or else the "student" borrows though not "you" borrow. The maintenance loan is still based on the parents' income even though it is the student borrowing.

titchy Tue 14-Mar-17 19:01:01

On your question of what is taken account of does it really matter

No of course not - Student Loans Company are quite happy with fraudulent applications hmm

everybodysang Wed 15-Mar-17 08:02:30

Hmm. There's no financial consent order - maintenance was paid on an informal basis initially and then the agreement over the lump sum payment was also done without courts - though there were documents drawn up by solicitors etc.

For some context, there were still grants when I went to uni and even though I hadn't lived at home since I was 16 and was estranged from my parents they refused to sign a letter stating that and despite loads of back and forward with the grants people I had to be assessed on their income and got the grand total of £81 a year - even though they gave me no financial support at all. I feel really strongly that DSS should make sure he is able to borrow all he is entitled to if he has to. I wish we could support him more financially. And he will be supported as much as possible, just want to make sure we are clear on the position he's in.

everybodysang Wed 15-Mar-17 08:03:49

And yes - everything has to be borrowed now, there's no 'gift' (do you mean grant?) element. But it is means tested and that does make a considerable difference to what can be borrowed.

EnormousTiger Wed 15-Mar-17 09:33:51

You are right that the loan for your rent/food etc is higher if your parents don't earn much www.ucas.com/connect/blogs/changes-maintenance-grants-and-loans so can vary from 8200 down to £3821. The latter is enough if you live at home and don't pay board as it shoudl cover your travel and food etc. The former if you have low rent might just about cover both. I will pay about £150,000 over the next 3 years for the twins - £9k ish fees per twin per year, £7k ish rent and £150 a week per twin for food and the others plus I will house them and feed them in the half the year they won't be at university as their father chooses to pay nothing and not see them, silly man. I will fund this as with our older 3 on the basis they will have this support from me if they take on no debt at all. (I work full time).

Most parents want to help if they can but not everyone can. My parents made up my grant to the full grant (as they earned too much for me to get the full grant) when I went to university.

So it looks from my link that there is about £4300 difference on the amount you can borrow based on parents' income.

Oxford his choice may be a good one as you have a longer summer holiday to earn money in or do internships and also the rents at college can be half of some of the other university similar places actually surprisingly.

Why would any parent want a child to take on the biggest loans they can unless you expect the child to give up work to mind babies for life or never get a proper job and never have to pay it back?

everybodysang Wed 15-Mar-17 12:57:17

That's a very interesting point about longer holidays at Oxford. He's a very clever young man and is projected to do extremely well so it's not impossible - but I had rather thought it might be more difficult for him to cope there financially. Hmm.
I hope he won't have to take on lots of debt but realistically we'll only be able to give him about £100 a month and his mum will be roughly the same, I think. I had to work four jobs to get through uni and it affected my studies and my mental health so if it was a choice between that and a loan - well, I'd rather he did that, really.

everybodysang Wed 15-Mar-17 12:58:01

Also, twins! faints

I can barely cope with the stress of him thinking about university next year, let alone two at the same time!

EnormousTiger Wed 15-Mar-17 15:48:39

everybody I was interesting too. My twins at Durham or Bristol will pay over £7k rent a year. Oxford can be just over £3000 - half and the terms are not that much shorter and I think Oxford also has more college funds for those who are very hard up too so perhaps encourage the Oxford option.

Our older 3 were also at unicersity at the same time not long after my divorce (so I was paying for 3 then -their father pays nothing but fees were more like £3k then not £9k). Of course I am unusual in fully funding them. Most students (although apparently not that many people in my sons' class perhaps as it's a private school) do take the full loans for fees and rent and have over draft debt too by the time they finish. Then some go on to post grad and take on more loans.

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